Centro Escolar University escaped with an 86-77 win over AMA Online Education to stay unbeaten in Group A of the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Senegalese center Malick Diouf scattered 18 points, 23 rebounds, five assists, and five blocks, including the thunderous dunk with 37.3 seconds to play that punctuated the Scorpions’ sensational 22-point fourth quarter.
Rich Guinitaran added 16 points and two rebounds, Dave Bernabe got himself a double-double with his 13 points and 11 boards, and Franz Diaz collected 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the victory to hike CEU’s record to 3-0.
“I think we just have to stay focused on our immediate goal, which is to make it to the next round or even make it to the top two,” said coach Derrick Pumaren.
The win, however, didn’t come easy as Aaron Black brought AMA from 17-points down, 41-24, back to within one, 64-63, with a buzzer-beating three to end the third frame.
The Scorpions, meanwhile, responded with a 14-4 blast to restore order and grab a 78-67 lead with 5:04 to play.
“We’re not focused on what we’re doing right now. We’re forcing a lot of shots, thinking about themselves, and that’s not us. We should be able to stick to the system no matter what,” lamented Pumaren.
AMA leaned on Black, who missed out on a triple-double with his 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.
Luke Parcero helped the cause with 17 points, six dimes, and five boards, while Vince Tolentino had 11 points and seven rebounds.
AMA, unfortunately, suffered their second straight loss to drop to 1-3.
CEU 86 — Diouf 18, Guinitaran 16, Bernabe 12, Diaz 10, Murillo 8, Abastillas 4, Tuadles 4, Escalona 3, Sunga 3, Santos 3, Tagal 2, De Ocampo 2.
AMA 77 — Black 21, Parcero 17, Tolentino 11, Santos 8, Paras 8, Fuentes 5, Alina 3, Catorce 2, Rodriguez 2, Asuncion 0, Estibar 0, De Leon 0, Saor 0, Germino 0, Martin 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 45-31, 64-63, 86-77.